The Strain: "It's Not For Everyone"

(Episode 1.04)

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<em>The Strain</em>: "It's Not For Everyone"

We’ve already gone through four episodes and five hours of FX’s newest show, yet it still feels like The Strain is trying to get off the ground. Since the beginning, The Strain has felt the need to slowly demonstrate what makes these vampires different from other vampires, through showing different transformations of varying levels, ages and depths, but mostly focusing on the few survivors of the plane that began everything. Hopefully after “It’s Not For Everyone,” the show will finally believe it has covered this ground enough and let it go.

“It’s Not Everyone” picks up right after “Gone Smooth,” with Ephraim having just bashed in the freshly-vampiric pilot’s head. The CDC team immediately begins an autopsy giving us the ins (the circulatory system is completely different from a human) and outs (even more lost genitalia) of the vampires. Around the moment when they pull out the vampire creature’s yard long stinger tongue, I was already at the point of knowing far more about these beasts than I cared to.

But Ephraim’s story in this episode ends where it should’ve been at weeks ago, teaming up with Abraham Setrakian to hunt down the survivors and anyone they’ve interacted with, decapitate them and burn their bodies. Considering that Eph has been searching for answers for weeks and Setrakian has basically been running around saying “I know what’s going on, but you’re not ready to know the truth!” it’s about time this team is finally forming. Plus, teaming Eph and Abe up seems like it could be an enjoyable grouping.

At this point, it looks like Setrakian is going to be the person who brings all these disparate stories together, which will probably take the entire first season. Right now the most confusing arc is that of Gus, who, after he dropped off the giant coffin filled with dirt, we haven’t really needed to know about what he’s up to. Still, it’s not quite clear where he fits into everything, even after he returns a stolen clock to Setrakian. It all seems inconsequential. Now he’s stealing cars for a grand a pop, but why exactly should we care at this point?

As for the vampire side of things, we learn that the Stoneheart Group is outsourcing their technology needs, by hiring a sole hacker to essentially freeze up the internet. I guess lack of social media will make it harder for people to realize an outbreak is occurring in one of the largest cities in the world. We also see that Ansel—one of the survivors—has gone full-blown vamp. Ansel’s transformation shows that the desperate need for blood overwhelms all other emotions, yet there’s still a heart that can warn loved ones to stay away so he doesn’t empty their necks. Ansel has decided to take the Ed in Shaun of the Dead route, tying himself up in his shed, but also feasting on his dog and evil neighbors.

The Strain’s first season is now a third over and the show is finally putting loose ends together, connecting characters and putting things in a direction where they needs to go. From here on out hopefully things will get going a bit faster than they have been, because at this glacial pace, we’ll have to wait until Season Two to have all the pieces where they need to be.

Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.